When you hire a managed service provider to help your company, be sure you select the right one.
Whether you just opened your doors, your business is flourishing, or your company is well-established, as a business owner you have a lot on your hands. If you are without an internal IT department and manage your own technology, then chances are you could benefit a great deal from hiring a managed service provider. With the right managed service provider, you will have more time to focus on what you do best – running your business. Selecting the best-managed service provider for your company, however, can be complicated. To ensure you choose the right company, consider the following thirteen items before deciding which managed service provider will help your business grow.
- Industry Experience– Most IT professionals will be excited to face a new challenge, but it is best for your business if your managed service provider has real experience working in your industry. If you run a restaurant, then an IT expert with food service industry experience will be able to serve you much better than one who has primarily worked with accounting agencies. Industry experience ensures your managed service provider will be able to foresee potential problems and also anticipate your operational needs.
- Good References– Verify the company’s industry experience and customer service skills by asking for a few references.
- Longevity– You want to select a managed service provider who will be around as long as your company (hopefully forever). You can verify a provider’s history by searching for press releases, asking for financial statements, or checking with references.
- Insurance– By checking that your provider is properly insured, you can be certain that the cost of any mistakes made on their part will be paid. Verify your provider has a current policy in place, just like you would for any outside vendor.
- Billing Structure– The way a provider bills will affect more than your accounts payable; it can also reveal the quality of the company’s integrity. Avoid those which strictly charge by the hour, looking instead for providers who charge flat fees for certain services. For these managed service providers, doing the job right the first time is mutually beneficial.
- Service Contract Scope– Be sure your provider offers a contract and list of services which covers the entire scope of your company’s needs, including computers, laptops, phones, tablets, payment systems, and even cloud computing. You do not want to get stuck in a contract with a company that cannot handle the entire job.
- Agreeable Contract Terms– You also do not want to get trapped in a contract which does not have flexible terms. Look for a contract which allows you to add or remove services, or curtail service altogether without too great a penalty.
- House Calls– Depending on your needs and IT skill level, a managed service provider which offers in-house service might be a real necessity.
- Processes– A well-established managed service provider will have established procedures for handling various tasks. Ask what the typical course of action is when troubleshooting a problem for a client.
- On-Site Availability– Find out whether the company handles all aspects of their services in-house or if they outsource.
- Staff– If the managed service provider does not outsource services, then ask about their staffing levels. You want the company you choose to have enough personnel to handle your business.
- Response Times– A managed service provider should be able to give you an upfront estimate of response times in any given situation. This will give you a good idea of the time it will take to fix problems which arise in the future.
- Ability to Innovate– While you probably do not want your company to be the guinea pig that discovers all of the bugs in the latest technology, you also do not want to fall behind. Offering the latest services and adopting new technology early on will ultimately give your business an edge over its competition. A managed service provider which stays on top of the latest innovations and offers the most advanced options in IT will ensure your company remains contemporary, functional, and relevant.
Why Invest in a Managed Service Provider?
Your company stands to gain a great deal from selecting the right managed service provider. With your technology needs in the hands of experienced professionals, you will have more time to focus on what you do best, while your company benefits from the following:
- Increased efficiency
- Convenient access to knowledge, advice, and skills
- Improved service and business continuity
- Reduced technology-related risk
- Increased IT security infrastructure
- Improved regulatory compliance
- Increased adaptability to technological innovations
Even though investing in a managed service provider will add an operating expense to your business, the cost is minimal compared to the benefits. With a managed service provider your company stands to benefit overall from reduced expense as a result of increased efficiency, improved production, better operations, improved products and services, and the mitigation of costly, detrimental risks.
Comprehensive IT Management Services Suited to Your Business
If you own a small to a medium-sized company and need assistance with implementing, improving, or maintaining your information technology systems, but are not prepared to hire a full-blown IT department staff, then a managed service provider might be the right solution for you. Similar to hiring an accountant to handle your taxes or a repair person to fix the air conditioning, outsourcing IT management can save you time, money, and a considerable amount of stress by eliminating the job of maintaining the network and devices you need to run your business. At Intelice Solutions in Washington, our experienced IT professionals provide our clients with a comprehensive menu of IT management services.